DSM-IV-TR vs. DSM-V: Don't Panic, Tweeners



So, like the internship classes of 1980-1982 (DSM-III) and 1994-1996 (DSM-IV), you’re the “tweeners.” You’re one of those unfortunate few students finishing school and hitting the licensing exam just as we’re switching to a new diagnostic manual. This time around, the madness is heightened by the fact that many, many settings have yet to determine if they will embrace DSM-V, or shift operations to ICD-10/11. Most will be taking full advantage of the two-year grace period before changing systems. Because of this, you face the very real possibility that you’ll train under one system, but have to tackle taking an Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)  that focuses on a radically different diagnostic framework.


Stop screaming.


It’s do-able.



And here’s how, in two or three easy steps. Okay, maybe not easy, but not impossible, either!


First, remember how smart you are. You didn’t go to graduate school and finish all that work because you have difficulty learning new information. Remember those first few classes? You knew *nothing*, and now look how far you’ve come. Studying for the licensing exam, no matter which diagnostic system you use, is no different than all those exams and papers you’ve already conquered. Scarier, sure. But really, no different. You’ve got this.


Second, for those of you on internship right now, or who already have your Master’s Degree, you can take the examination before you finish internship, or just as you do. If you get in before the July 31, 2014 change date, you’ll miss all of the insanity and answer questions based on the DSM-IV-TR only. Problem solved. If you can pull this off before March, 2014, you’ll also save money, as the cost of the EPPP is going up, too. WKPIC has encouraged our current interns to consider this option, and we’re willing to assist with study time and quizzing as needed. Also, Dr. Kuszak just took the test on October 1, so she knows–she really, really knows–the angst involved and the preparation needed. She feels your pain! (She did great, by the way, YAY DR. K!!).


Finally, if taking the exam before the change date is not an option for you, we suggest that you quickly secure a copy of the DSM-V, or if you’re a WKPIC intern, use the student copy available in the state hospital intern office. Every time you render a diagnosis in DSM-IV-TR or ICD-10/11, take the extra 5-10 minutes to look up and write down the terminology used by the DSM-V as well. Discuss points of confusion with your supervisors. Trust us, we’ll be learning, too. These extra minutes could pay huge dividends for you, come examination time. Consider attending a continuing education seminar related to DSM-V, or viewing one by webinar as well. Your sites may have materials like this already available (we do, on our state hospital intranet), so be sure to ask about this possibility.


Alicia Taylor, Psy.D., WKPIC Internship Director
Susan Vaught, Ph.D., WKPIC Training Director



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